Building healthy families should be a British Columbia Health Care Priority every day of the year. This Family Day, patient advocates in BC are calling on the government to fund IVF treatment. And with good reason. BC infertility patients are currently in the minority in Canada. With four provinces funding IVF in Canada, BC patients are being left out.
1 in 6 couples in BC struggle wth infertility. Often the most effective treatment prescribed for infertility is In Vitro Fertilization. However, the cost of fertility treatments and the lack of access in numerous regions in B.C. prevent many British Columbians from growing their family.
Lack of Funding Creates Difficult Choices That Are Costly:
Costs can range from $7,500 to $11,000 not including the cost of medication. When individuals needing IVF are faced with the price tag of $10,000 for one round of treatment they often take out high interest loans, second mortgages and multiple jobs. In this case, when infertility patients risk so much financially they will often opt to transfer multiple embryos instead of just one (which is the best practice as noted by the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.) This leads to higher rates of multiple births, longer stays in the NICU for baby, and greater risks for maternal health outcome as well.
Simply put, higher rates of multiple births equal greater strain on the British Columbia health care system.
Accessible British Columbia Health Care for Infertility Patients:
Currently fertility centres are primarily located in the Lower Mainland and Victoria. That means even if you are diagnosed and can afford IVF as a treatment, you will often need to drive to a fertility centre hours away from home. The issue of access to a fertility clinic in BC is challenging. See how British Columbia Health Care for infertility patients rates here in this Canadian infertility infographic.
The patient group, IVF4BC has formed a petition and is asking people in BC to sign it in support of building healthy families. If you are one of the 1 in 6 affected, or if you know someone impacted by infertility, then please sign the petition. Infertility has a wide ranging impact on society, extended family and the workplace.
Four Canadian provinces offer some financial assistance for IVF treatment. Ontario has the best policy and also offers the most fertility clinics per province. Ontario funds one full round for patients who qualify and are under the age of 43. Quebec has a sliding scale tax credit. New Brunswick offers a grant of up to $5,000 and Manitoba has a tax credit. British Columbia health care policy doesn’t offer financial support for infertility patients in need of IVF.
Infertility is a health care issue recognized by the World Health Organization. Four other provinces support infertility patients and recognize this as a complex health issue. This Family Day and every single day of the year IVF funding makes financial sense and would be smart British Columbia health care policy.
This Family Day take a look on your own street in your neighbourhood and count out every sixth house. That’s the impact infertility has. 1 in 6 struggle to conceive. Often infertility is a result of medical conditions from cancer, to endometriosis, Crohn’s Disease, birth defects, and male factor infertility.
Building healthy families for every single province in Canada creates a strong future for the country as a whole. Many other countries around the world recognize that IVF funding coupled with a single embryo transfer policy is smart and saves money. It’s time British Columbia health care helped infertility patients to make informed health care choices.
An earlier survey in B.C. showed almost half (43 per cent) of British Columbians report having been affected by infertility personally or through family, friends and acquaintances. Forty-two per cent said they couldn’t do treatment because of the cost. Over three quarters (78 per cent) of British Columbians support public funding for IVF treatments.
Disclosure: I am working with IVF4BC to share infertility patient stories on social media and as such I am compensated. Infertility is also part of my own personal story and as such this issue matters deeply to me.